Give Me Sanctuary

Back before Delilah joined our pack, Hubby, Sampson and I hiked every weekend. With Delilah it was just too hard. She pulled and lunged and I basically gave it up.

I was determined though, to get back to hiking again because Sampson and I love it so.

When we moved to our current house one of the draws was the surrounding trails.

Just about two years ago, I started walking the dogs in the small park at the top of the street.

If you’re a long time follower, you know we’ve had some highs and lows up there, but for the most part Delilah has been doing well.

I must have been a pioneer in another life because I began to think it was time for a change of scenery.

Hubby and I discussed it and he agreed to hike with us last weekend.

I’d heard some nice things about a place called Belding Wildlife Management Area, a spot not too far from where we live. So Sunday afternoon we loaded the dogs in the car and off we went.

I was hoping there would be an area where I could let Delilah off leash for some run time, so I didn’t put her harness on her.

**Note to self, when taking your dog to a new area full of new smells, be sure she wears her harness.**

There were more people than I cared for, so she stayed on leash and dragged me all over creation.

Belding Wildlife Management Area


A marker with a little bit of history on it.



Almost as soon as we entered the trailed area, we came upon a pond. There was a couple with a free running dog on the other side.  They grabbed the dog and said, “He’s friendly.”  I was more concerned with Delilah going for a swim so on we trudged.


This fireplace is all that remains of a cabin the Belding family used on their trips to the property.  The cabin burned down in 2001.

Hubby saw a stream and wanted to check it out, I couldn’t get a picture because my hands were full of chocolate.  She was actually whining, she wanted in so bad.

Decorated Trees

We followed the trail and I noticed something in the trees off to my left.  I crossed the stream and found a small cluster of trees that someone had decorated festively.


There was probably about ten decorated trees in all.  An unexpected holiday surprise in the middle of the woods.


We stayed on the main trail and walked clear to the other side of the sanctuary where we discovered a waterfall.


There was a random chunk of rock, it’s a bad positioning of Sampson because he’s in front of the piece of rock that’s colored similar to the way he is.


On the way back I had to get a picture of the fog that hung low over the ground, illuminated by the sun poking through the trees.

As we passed close to the stream, Delilah managed to jump in just long enough to get herself wet.  She was too quick for the camera.  When she came out I looked at her and asked, “Are you happy now?”

She was.

How do your dogs do when they are out exploring new places?  Are they tuggers?  How do you work a dog in a new area full of smells and still keep it enjoyable for both of you?

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  1. says

    My dog is a great little leash-walker – except when we go somewhere new! Then (even though he’s only 16lbs) he drags me all over Christendom! So I use a harness too, then we don’t end up with that terrible gasping that dogs do when they insist on pulling.
    You got some fantastic pictures on your hike!

  2. says

    Wow Jodi – I love all of the photos. The fireplace and the water fall especially. Seems like a great place for a hike through the woods.

    When I go somewhere new and exciting with Toby, I’ve pretty much “given up” on stopping him from pulling and just put him back in his front clip harness so we can enjoy the day. I think I am less frustrated with him, and he is happier with me. I used to think stopping his pulling was so important….but my priorities have changed a lot over the years. :-) Now I just want to enjoy my dog, and struggling with him over this issue for five plus years was not enjoyable at all.

  3. says

    I laughed when I read that your “hands were full of chocolate”! My first thought about the chimney photo was wondering who put the wreath there. Its awesome that someone also decorated the trees, what a great winter wonderland to discover!

  4. says

    What a gorgeous park! I love the picture of the dogs in front of the fireplace (it has Christmas card written all over it!) Cali loves to explore new places but she’s not too bad about pulling . . .she’s an old lady :) Beautiful pictures!

  5. says

    What a lovely place to explore. Misty is a total water dog like Delilah. ‘If there is water it must be jumped into or i shall not know true happiness.’ The other three would prefer to live on the Sahara. I think it’s totally hard wired into their beings and not something that can be programmed out.

  6. says

    That looks like SUCH a wonderful hiking spot. Cupcake wears a Martingale collar, which helps her not to go berserk. ….much. She’s usually a good leash walker, but she has her moments.

  7. says

    Katie my Kuvasz sis is older so she doesn’t pull anymore, back in Germany mom used to just let her run most of the time so leashes never were an issue. As for me, I like to pull now and the but I am only 38 pounds so it is not too bad. I am a hound so I love the smells and certain places I pull more than others but all in all mom says we are pretty easy to take anywhere as once we get going we mellow out and we all just enjoy!

  8. Frankie Furter and Ernie says

    What an absolutely GORGEOUS place for a walk. Love the FOG picture. Glad that she got her feet wet!!! BOL

  9. says

    Great pictures, especially the ones of Sampson and Delilah in front of the fireplace. I use to take Gracie to a local park with trails through the woods, because of work and being sick I’d forgotten about it. I think a walk in the park is in our immediate future!

  10. Sue at The Golden Life (aka says

    Beautiful pix!! Beautiful park!! I would love to be able to get hubby motivated to go for a hike with Callie, Shadow, and Me on a Saturday (while Ducky’s at daycare), but his knees aren’t what they used to be. If it’s nice this weekend, maybe I can coax him into going to a different park than our usual one…some place where we’ll be able to find a parking place! I would love to take Ducky, too, but we don’t have enough room in the car for her crate, her sisters, and the two of us. Wish we had a park right up at the end of our street!!

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